Bees Are Math Geniuses According To Study

Bees have enough smarts to do math, study indicates

Scientists discover bees are capable of attraction and subtraction

In addition to shedding new light on insectoid intelligence, the new research could be of benefit in AI research and the development of rapid computational modes of learning and problem-solving.

Humans have relegated insects to the lower levels of the cognitive totem pole, but scientists are increasingly showing it's a mistake to underestimate invertebrate intelligence. The bee then flew into a subsequent chamber which presented both a correct option and an incorrect option. Honeybees Are Smarter Than Initially Thought Honeybees, which have brains that are the same size as sesame seeds, can understand the abstract mathematical notion of zero, a study from the same team found past year. "This capacity is therefore probably shared by many other animals".

Indeed, bees join some primates, birds, and spiders on the list of animals that have been found to possess the ability to add and subtract, and it's a list that seems likely to grow.

A study has proved that they can add and subtract as well as being able to understand the concept of zero. We may see addition or subtraction as simple, but it requires different parts of our brain to store information and understand order.

He said: "You need to be able to hold the rules around adding and subtracting in your long-term memory, while mentally manipulating a set of given numbers in your short-term memory". One branch of the maze contained sugar water, while the other contained a bitter-tasting quinine solution.

When a bee flew into the entrance of the maze, it would see a set of elements, between one and five shapes.

"These days, we learn as children that a plus symbol means you need to add two or more quantities, while a minus symbol means you subtract", Howard explained.

Over time, bees began to navigate more toward the correct answers, which researchers would switch between the branches to ensure the bees couldn't learn where the sugar water was located. Two thirds of the time it chose the correct one. Blue for addition, yellow for subtraction, and a series of shapes to denote the numbers. If the bee saw three blue shapes, for example, the "right" answer would be four blue shapes.

Sounds like a daunting task for a bee to learn, but they figured it out.

According to researchers at the beginning of the experiment, bees made random choices until they could work out how to solve the problem. That is, it transpires, a perfectly reasonable question to ask a bee.

She designed the experiment using colour as a code for addition and subtraction, rather than the symbols we use. Because "bees could transfer their learning to novel stimuli, we are very confident in the result", he told Gizmodo. Muth is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Nevada Reno.

The research was conducted in both Australia and France and involved many control experiments to validate the findings. "It might be they don't actually use this in any natural context". But being able to learn a symbolic representation of a math equation, and then solve future "equations", is another level.

If honeybees are indeed capable of maths, Dyer said his team's findings could be used in AI.

"This display of numerosity requires bees to acquire long-term rules and use short-term working memory", the abstract added.

A study has provided the strongest evidence yet that bees know how to count. "As we apply bio-inspired solutions in teams with rapidly developing AI technology, we can likely improve efficiency".

So just how big is a bee's brain?

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